An Enormous Thank You

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Wow.

There should be a better word, but sometimes the simplest is the best: just…wow.

During the course of two pride events, Manchester and Brighton, we spoke to hundreds of people. We talked about books, we talked about life, we talked about surgeries, we talked about families, we even talked about wolf sanctuaries.

We met so many really excellent, friendly, wonderful people. And we want to say thank you to everyone who stopped by the table to chat and buy a book or two. We are really privileged to have met you. And it was really fantastic to see so many returning people we got to meet last year, too!

Now we’re heading into autumn in the UK, (not that we had much of a summer!), and that means warm drinks while cuddled up in a warm blanket with a great book.

But hopefully you’ll leave your cozy nook for our final event of the year: 

Diva Magazine is putting on their first ever Literary Festival in Birmingham, and we’re really hoping you’ll come along! A ton of great authors are on the schedule, and it will  be a weekend full of readings, signings, discussions, and laughter.

And, if you’re an aspiring author who would like to pitch your novel to Bold Strokes, our UK editor will be there too. Get in touch at boldstrokesuk@boldstrokesbooks.com to get a pitch slot. Now is your chance!

When: November 4th-5th

Where: HILTON METROPOLE, BIRMINGHAM NEC

Who will be there: Anna Larner, Michelle Grubb, Lesley Davis, Robyn Nyx, Brey Willows, I. Beacham, and Cari Hunter.

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Join us in August!

Pride season is all about connecting under the warm British sun…

Well, it’s about getting out and about, anyway.

And we’d love to see you as we travel around the UK at various Pride events. We’ll have books at a special discounted festival price, and super-amazing goodie bags. And of course, authors who’d love to sign your books, if you want them to.

So where will we be?

 

See you there!

And some more listening pleasure:

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Pride events are all over the place right now, and on August 8th at 7pm, authors will  be descending on Happy Valley Pride in Hebden Bridge, (the lesbian hub of England, if you didn’t know!)

In the lead up to that, author Jen Silver did a radio interview with LGBeaTs. Each author submitted a few songs that mean something to them, along with a little explanation of why.

Want to know more and hear some great music?

Listen in. 

And join Jen Silver, Robyn Nyx, Lise Gold, Cari Hunter, and Brey Willows for a great night of readings and laughter.  Check out Happy Valley Pride’s program for more information.

See you there!

Another Fantastic Year

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Q: “What do you do if  you find the writing isn’t working?

A’s:

  • “Delete.”
  • “Cry.”
  • “Cider.”

And so went the 8th Annual Bold Strokes Book festival in Nottingham. There were lots of laughs, great questions, and the kind of atmosphere you want in a festival.

We had about eighty people throughout the weekend, all told, and it was so great to see old friends, to make some new ones, and to come together over words and books.

We’ll be putting lots of photos up of the event as they arrive from various people, but there are some up now if you want to start perusing. I hope you followed along on Twitter, too. If you want to catch up, check out #BSBUK to see what we got up to.

That means we’ve already started planning for the 9th Annual Bold Strokes Event. Know what that means? You’re in for a treat. LOADS of authors from America and beyond will be joining us next year, but make note of the date: May 5th-6th at Waterstones, Nottingham. (Not June!) We’re so excited to be hosting our fellow authors, and what makes it even more exciting? Our fearless leader, Radclyffe, will be here too!

We’ll release details as they come through. In the meantime, check out our Other Events page for events some of our authors will be attending throughout the rest of the year. We’d love to see you there.

Thanks for another great year. We couldn’t do it without reader support and author attendance, and we’re so lucky to have this event where we can come together in a safe space to support one another. Remember you can follow the authors on their own pages, sign up to our mailing list, and check us out on FB.

Thanks again, everyone. It’s always a pleasure.

Victoria 

Deeper Connections by Sandy Lowe

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In the modern digital age, there is a case to be made for using the Internet make our lives easier. Want a recipe? A book? An Uber at 3am? The Internet is happy to provide (and to profit). Less obvious, but just as life changing is the way cyberspace has transformed the social realm. We make friends, colleagues, lovers and even enemies online, opening ourselves up to a social network that transcends time and place.  For LGBTQ people this network can be life changing: increasing avenues for acceptance, support, resources and even as a vehicle for finding just the right happily ever after.

Social media has made it so that everything we share online can be viewed by friends, friends of friends, and often even strangers we’d never actually consider friends. Inevitably, this leads to impression management, curating just the right collection of filter-hazed photos, anecdotes, witty retorts and hashtags to convince others that our life, and by extension, ourselves, are just a little brighter, a little happier, a little better than reality.

This very fakeness is social media’s fatal flaw. How do you really get to know someone when you only see the highlights? How do you experience the joy of an unexpected connection when filters and algorhythms show you only those who are just like you? And what are you to do when you’re moving house in the middle of August and could really use some help getting the damn couch up the stairs?

If most of your friends are online, I feel your pain. Making friends as an adult is awkward. Gone are the days that sharing your peanut butter Wonder Bread sandwich guaranteed you a BFF. Schedules are busy and work/life balance has given way to checking your work email while sitting on the loo (don’t judge, we all do it). That’s why LGBTQ friendly events, centered around a shared interest like reading and writing can be just the place to connect with real people, in real time. You have a built-in topic of conversation, a preplanned schedule of events and a room full of reluctant introverts just looking for an excuse to say hi It’s just like Wonder Bread only better.

The Internet is great for bringing together like-minded people with similar interests, but it’s the face-to-face connection, that creates the kind of friends that help you bury bodies. And honestly, couldn’t we all use a friend or two like that? Come to the Bold Strokes Books UK Festival and meet the friend you’ll need on moving day.

 

 

 

Rescuing the Damsel by Robyn Nyx

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“People sleep peacably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” George Orwell 

Right now, it seems that the rough men are doing violence on behalf of the wrong people. I’ve been asked to write four hundred words on the importance of safe places for LGBTQ people. I have immense trouble telling a story succinctly, so this is quite an ask. The marvellous authors that have already gone before me have eloquently delved into the political ramifications of what’s currently being perpetrated against us as a community so I’m not going to reiterate their arguments (again, impossible for me to do so in four hundred words, but catch me this weekend, and we can go to town on these issues).

As an avid reader, my safe space has often been between the soft yet crisp, wonderfully-scented pages of the beautiful works of art we know as books. I have always taken enormous pleasure in appreciating the wonder that is a physical book, but they are so much more than their cleverly-designed cover or smooth black on white pages. Its importance can transcend anything the author ever envisaged when they put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. The characters can come alive and take on their own direction in unimaginable ways, becoming of utmost importance to their readers—becoming role models. Characters become people whom we seek to emulate.

I’ve always wanted to be the archetypal hero, the rescuer of the damsel in distress, and the rough, rugged conqueror of all things evil who gets the girl. In my youth, those things were the reserve of boys and men. Indeed, it wasn’t until my twenties when I discovered the darkly dreaming world of LesFic, where our hero was the rough and ready female detective, and it was the dangerously sexy female bounty hunter who got the girl. I was in hog heaven. The manuscript I’d been working on since I was seventeen suddenly didn’t seem so aimless. Could I be a LesFic author one day? The answer was yes, though it would take two decades to finally sign on the dotted line of the elusive and much sought after traditional publishing contract (and a completely different manuscript).

My safe space today is very much the same as it was when I was a little baby-dyke. I love to read about Furies, billionaire scientists, and Death as a surfer chick (all of which are conveniently available in my lady’s Afterlife Inc trilogy (Brey Willows). Not only that, but I now get to create the sexy heroes and their worlds too. I’m lucky enough that the biggest LGBTQ publisher on the planet contracts me to inhabit those arenas for months on end and invent escapist safe spaces for other LGBTQ people. And then, better yet, Bold Strokes Books organise this fabulous weekend for authors and readers alike to connect in real time in a way so much more fulfilling than social media (from both sides of the stage); to discuss their favourite characters, books, and how they were written; and most of all to celebrate and be safe amongst the different.

I’m looking forward to enjoying a safe space I could never have envisioned in my youth, and I can’t bloody wait to meet you all!

Robyn Nyx will be at the Bold Strokes Book Festival in Nottingham, and will be reading from her latest novel, Escape in Time.